Photo/IllutrationMembers of the Canadian rugby team on Oct. 13 collect sludge on the roads of Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, caused by flooding triggered by Typhoon No. 19. (Naoki Nakayama)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

KAMAISHI, Iwate Prefecture--Although their final Rugby World Cup game was canceled on Oct. 13, Canadian team members scored big points with the locals by helping the city clean up from typhoon damage.

Seventeen players and staff members of the team worked for about two hours on Oct. 13. Some collected sludge on the roads and shoveled it into bags. Others helped remove tatami mats and carpets from flooded homes.

Conor Trainor, 29, said he was glad to help the residents of Kamaishi even though he regrets that the game against Namibia, Canada’s last in pool play, was called off because of Typhoon No. 19.

He said the experience would help him remember the importance of protecting family and friends when a natural disaster strikes.

One elderly couple whose home was flooded had nothing but appreciation for the burly players who carried out the soggy tatami mats from their home.

“I didn’t know what to do because it would have been impossible for us alone," said the 88-year-old resident of the home. “We were really saved by the power of the players.”

Lucas Rumball, 24, said he was glad to work since he was unable to play.

Members of the Namibia team who were staying at nearby Miyako encouraged city government workers handling the aftermath of the typhoon and conducted exchanges with children in the city.

The Canada-Namibia game was scheduled to be played at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium.

The city was one of the hardest hit by the tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.

The stadium was built on land that had been devastated by the tsunami.